Researchers followed more than 9,000 people age 50 or older for around three years. The study looked at the effect of more intensive blood pressure control and risks of developing mild cognitive impairment. This is the first time that lowering blood pressure intervention has been shown to also help brain health. Preliminary findings showed that participants were 17 percent less likely to develop dementia. “It offers genuine, concrete hope,” said Maria C. Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association in a statement. The results of the study, called Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The Alzheimer’s Association announced that it will award more than $800,000 to support a follow-up trial which will extend follow-up for an additional two years to further investigate the impact of the treatment on reducing risk of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 6 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, including 200,000 under the age of 65.